We are diving into a topic today that I get asked about all the time: Macros and Pregnancy. Whether you’re planning on getting pregnant, currently are pregnant, or just here to learn another aspect of macros, welcome! In today’s episode, I talk about how macros can be combined with pregnancy in terms of safety, the differences between the trimester phases, how to adjust your macros while pregnant, and supplements. So, let’s get into it!
**I am not a doctor. If you're pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, please always discuss your nutrition plans and goals with YOUR provider**
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/140
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- Macro counting as a tool (3:05, 7:05)
- Macro counting is safe during pregnancy (8:19)
- Macro counting helps align your nutrition to your goal (10:17)
- Applying the scientific method in customizing macros (18:22, 30:13)
- Acknowledging the differences during the trimester phase during pregnancy (20:49)
- Trimester 1: Whatever you can do to make your through (22:04)
- Trimester 2: Gauging period (29:15)
- Trimester 3: Making adjustments based on how the body is responding (32:27)
- Thoughts about taking supplements during pregnancy (34:36)
- Staying active and lifting during pregnancy (37:35)
You're listening to Biceps after Babies radio episode number 140
Hello and welcome to Biceps after Babies radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Macro counting and pregnancy 0:48
Hey, Hey, Hey, welcome back to another episode of biceps after babies radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke. And we are diving into a topic today that I get asked about all the time, all the time. And it's why I'm recording this podcast episode. I would say at least several times a week I have people in my Instagram DMs. By the way, if you're not following me on Instagram, what the heck are you doing? Go on over and follow biceps after babies. I post lots of lots of content and behind-the-scenes stuff on my Instagram account. So if you're not over there following me go over there. But I get people DMing me all the time asking me questions about Hey when you're pregnant, can you count macros, or you know, I just got pregnant, I'm wondering what to do with my macros. Now, how do I handle this? And so I thought it would be very helpful to record a podcast so we can talk about how these two things this tool of macro counting can be combined with pregnancy, and what that actually looks like. So let's do what we're going to do today.
Counting macros while nursing 1:53
Now before we dive into talking about pregnancy, I do want to highlight a couple of other resources I have that may be of interest to you. All the way back in Episode Number 21. I did a podcast about counting macros while nursing. And that's been a hugely popular podcast because a lot of women as they come out of pregnancy and into the postpartum period, there is a desire to lose some body fat. And using macro counting can be a great tool to implement to be able to go through that. But when you're setting your macros, you need to be taking that into account, because you are burning more calories while you're nursing. And so I get a lot of women wondering, hey, how do I adjust for including nursing when I'm setting my macros? And if that's a question that you have or a question that you're going to have in the future, because maybe you're pregnant now and you would like to be nursing your baby post-pregnancy, then I really highly suggest going back to episode number 21 and listening to that podcast where I really walk you step by step through what that can look like. And of course, we will link that up in the show notes as well. So if you go to bicepsafterbabies.com/140, that will be the Show Notes for this episode and we will link everything up there in the show notes as well.
Macro counting as a tool 3:05
Now, I'm going to assume that the fact that you're listening to this podcast means one of a couple of things, either you're pregnant, congratulations or you're hoping to become pregnant, and you're kind of just getting all your ducks in a row. Or you're just someone who likes to learn everything, and you listen to every single podcast and that's why you're here. And if that's the case, welcome. I'm glad that you like listening to everything that I put out. But I'm going to be speaking today about pregnancy, and specifically how we are going to take this tool. I talk a lot about macro counting as a tool. If you've listened to any podcast for any period of time, you've probably heard me reiterate over and over and over again, that macro counting is not a diet, it's not a diet, it is a tool. And a tool can be used in a myriad of ways. And it's a tool that can be customized to you. And that's one of the best things and honestly from a scientific perspective, in my background as a nurse, one of the things that drew me to macro counting was that it was not a bunch of rules that were universally applied to everybody. It's one of the things that I hate about diets and that really should be like a red flag to you or like you're going into this diet and the rules that you follow are exactly the same rules as somebody else. For example, as you go into doing keto and the rules for keto are the same for you as for every single other person who does keto, and of course, people are different and people's bodies are going to respond differently. And people's metabolisms are different and people's body types are different and people's ages are different. And so why would we assume that the exact same thing is going to work the exact same way for everybody? We know that's not the case. And so one of the things as a scientist as someone who you know came from a healthcare and science background when I saw macro counting, it made so much sense to me because it was this scientifically principled tool. And it could be applied differently towards different people and customized and made unique for your body. So I talk a lot of times about macro counting as a tool, and I really hope that you're starting to see it that way as macro counting is a certain thing. Like there's not a right way to count macros, there's not a wrong way to count macros. It's a tool that we can wield in different situations, with different people, with different metabolisms, with different body types, in order to get the results that you are desiring. And so this tool, just like it can be adjusted and changed for different circumstances, different body types, all those things, can also be utilized during pregnancy.
Is counting macros safe during pregnancy? 5:47
And I think one of the first questions that most women ask when they get pregnant, or they start thinking about pregnancy, in terms of macro counting, is the question, Is it safe? Like, Can I count macros during my pregnancy? And I get why they ask that question. And maybe I get maybe that's you, maybe that you're asking that question like, Is it safe to count macros during pregnancy? And obviously, it's a really important question. And you're asking that about, like everything in your life, I remember when I first got pregnant with my first baby, you start, it's just like, you start reading and getting all this information. And all you want to do is have a safe pregnancy, right? All you want to do is have the best pregnancy that you can have to give your baby the best chance of a healthy life. And so we're, you know, reading What to Expect When You're Expecting and we were like, Oh my gosh, I'm not supposed to be eating deli meat. Oh my gosh, like, Can I go into a hot tub? Right? It's all these things that you never thought about before like going into a hot tub. And now it's like this decision of like, do I do it? Do I not? Do I go into a hot tub? Do I not? Do I eat deli meat? Do I not eat sushi? Do I not? And so it's like you're questioning all of these things that were very just things that you didn't use to question. Now it's this question of like, is this safe? When I'm pregnant can I do this thing? So I totally get why someone would be asking that question of is macro counting safe.
Macro counting is a tool and not a diet 7:05
But here's what I want you to understand: whether or not you are tracking and counting your macros, you are eating macros every single day. So I think when people ask the question, is it safe to be counting macros, a lot of times they're jumping to that diet mentality or that mentality that there's like a right way to count macros, and that your protein has to be set a certain way. And that you have to be tracking a certain way and that you have to be at a certain caloric consumption. And that's what tracking macros is. And that's where I really want to come back to this idea of it as a tool, a customizable tool that we can use for whatever situation you're in, because no matter who you are, you are eating macros every single day. Whether you track them or don't track them, whether you weigh your food, or you don't weigh your food, whether you pay attention to it or not, you're consuming macronutrients every single day of your life. Hopefully, hopefully, you're eating every single day of your life. And so does understanding that those macros do pay attention to those macros, Is there value in doing that? Absolutely. Is there value in doing that when you're pregnant? Absolutely.
Paying attention to the macros you are consuming 8:19
Now, we're going to go into what it actually can look like when you're pregnant, and some things to be thinking about how you take this tool and utilize it during pregnancy. But in this generality of like, is macro counting safe? Well, absolutely, absolutely, it's safe because you're eating macros every single day. With macro counting, all we're doing is starting to pay attention to the macros that you're consuming. That's really what macro counting is, if you're asking this is Amber's definition of macro counting. This is how I coach, macro counting is simply paying attention to the macronutrients that you're consuming. That's macro counting. Now we'll do some manipulation in there and I teach my clients how to set and adjust their numbers based on the feedback and data from their body. But in the most general sense, macro counting is simply paying attention to something that is already taking place, which is the consumption of macronutrients. So yes, counting macros is safe during pregnancy. And we're going to talk about how you're going to set this up because your goals do change during pregnancy and your macros likely will need to change during pregnancy. But the tool itself is definitely something that can be used during a healthy pregnancy.
Knowing macro late just after I got my four kids 9:38
So now that I've shared that with you, a question you may have is well, Amber, did you count macros during your pregnancy? You have four kids, did you do this during your pregnancy? And the answer to that question is unfortunately no. That is not because I didn't want to or because it wasn't healthy or whatever it was simply because I didn't know about macro counting the last time I had a baby. My youngest is now seven years old and I found macro counting about five and a half years ago. So I found macro counting after I had my fourth baby. And so I did not use macro counting while I was pregnant.
Macro counting helps align your nutrition to your goal 10:17
However, had I known about macro counting, I would have used it likely as a tool in my pregnancy, to be able to have healthy weight gain, be able to fuel my body effectively, I think we forget, sometimes, lot of times macro counting is painted as this like one note that macro counting is for weight loss. So macro counting is bad because it's all about weight loss and weight loss is bad. I feel like that's the world we live in right now, especially on social media, it's really fun to bash on weight loss and say that it's bad to lose weight and you should just love your body the way that it is, right? That's kind of the message that a lot of people on social media are sharing. And macro counting gets lumped in with that idea that like, well, macro counting is bad because it promotes weight loss. And you should just love yourself the way that you are. And I really take issue with that for a lot of reasons which we can go into a whole another podcast about that, and probably will in the future. But I take issue with that because macro counting in and of itself, again, is a tool, is it a tool that can be used for fat loss? Yes. But one of the things that I love most about macro counting is that no matter what goal I have set, no matter what physical goal, I have set, whether it's an aesthetic goal, whether it is a performance goal, aligning my nutrition, and that's what macro counting allows me to do is it allows me to align my nutrition with that goal, it allows me to have my nutrition support the outcome that I am trying to create. And for some women, maybe it's fat loss, but it's not always fat loss. And it hasn't always been about fat loss for me. After I got a six-pack if you're new to the podcast, that was my new year's resolution 2016 was to get a six-pack. It's right when I found macro counting, I was like, this thing makes sense to me. From my scientific background from all my anatomy and physiology and nutrition classes that I had in college. This makes sense to me. And I'm going to try it out. I'm going to try this tool out and see if I can get a six-pack. And spoiler alert I did. And that was really the start of biceps after babies. But at that point, after I got a six-pack, I got a lot leaner. The next step was like Okay, cool. This works and helps me to lose fat, could it also help me to gain more muscle? And so sometimes the part of the story that people forget about, like my journey, was that yeah, it started with trying to get leaner and lose fat, which is where a lot of women's journeys start. But what was so great about macro counting is that when I was able to use the tools, I was able to align my nutrition to support, gaining more muscle. And I gained more muscle in six months doing that, combined with actually effective programming. And I put on an incredible amount of muscle in just a short six-month period of time. And then after that, I was like, this is really cool. I'm like, What else can I do? Well, I really want to look strong. Like if you would look at me, you'd say like, yeah, she's pretty built, she has muscle. But I wasn't actually strong. And so people don't really know that there's a difference between the amount of muscle that you have on your body and how strong you are, they aren't always one and the same. And so I looked strong, and I decided I wanted to be strong. And so I adjusted my programming to be able to support that new goal. And in addition, I also adjusted my nutrition by using macro counting to be able to support this new goal of performance of strength of being able to show up in the gym and do these heavy working sets that I was working on in trying to get my deadlift up and my squat up.
Macro counting is not synonymous with weight loss 13:55
And so I say this because macro counting is not synonymous with weight loss. And a lot of times people will collapse those two things down, that they will make them synonymous that macro counting means weight loss, when in actuality macro counting just simply means paying attention, being aware of the macronutrients you are consuming, and being able to align what you're eating, to whatever your goal is. So when we come now, wrapping all the way around to talking about pregnancy, your goal in pregnancy is different from your goal in a lot of the other parts of your life, correct? Your goal during pregnancy, or at least I will speak to my goal. I can't speak for your goals. But my goal during pregnancy was multifaceted. You know, one was to have a healthy pregnancy. Have a healthy baby at the end of the experience. And I think for most moms, that's a very high priority. That's what we want. We just want a healthy pregnancy with a healthy baby at the end. So obviously, that's like first and foremost, and then second to me and obviously not as important as the first. But second to me was that I wanted to have healthy weight gain during the pregnancy, I knew that I was going to be healthier, my baby was going to be healthier, and I was going to be able to recover better, the fitter and stronger and more healthy weight that I gained during the pregnancy. We all know that for many women, there needs to be a weight gain that happens during pregnancy, not for all.
And of course, this is where I put the plugin. I am not a doctor, I am an RN, but I'm not your RN, I'm not your doctor, I'm not your provider and so I'm going to share things that have worked for me that have worked for my clients. But always, always, always you need to check with your provider. Your provider always should have the last say, and you should always be taking these questions to your provider, whoever is taking care of you during your pregnancy. Okay, that's not me. I'm sharing this knowledge and information. And again, what's worked for me and what sorts of my clients please check with your provider before implementing any of these things in your pregnancy. Okay, that's my little disclaimer there.
Weight gain expectation during pregnancy 16:26
And going back to what I was talking about, before my disclaimer, it's really great and it's an important conversation to have with your provider of what his or her expectation of weight gain is going to look like for you. How much weight gain would they like to see? What is that range that they're looking at? And depending on where you are starting your pregnancy, maybe some women, don't want you to gain any weight. For some women, they're, your provider may be comfortable with you losing a little bit of weight. And for many women, you know, the standard recommendation tends to be around 25 to 35 pounds. For someone who's underweight, you may need to gain more than that. So I really, really recommend it as we are talking about using macro counting as a tool. In order to use it effectively as a tool, you are aligning your macros and aligning what you're doing with your nutrition with whatever your goal is.
Be clear with your goal 18:02
So first, you have to be clear on what your goal is. Is your goal to gain 25 pounds? Is your goal to gain 40 pounds? Because that's what your provider wants because you're underweight is your goal to not gain any weight at all during your pregnancy. That again, this goal is not something you just make up. This is something that you talk to your provider about, say what you know, what is the goal for my weight gain during this pregnancy? What should that look like? Have that conversation with your provider, because once you have that goal, then we can reverse engineer the process to get you there. But we always, always, always need to work with the end in mind, Stephen Covey said to work with the end in mind. So we need to know what the end goal is, what's your goal? where you want to go? And then we can start to say, Okay, now we have this tool of macro counting, how can we utilize it to get you towards that goal.
Applying the scientific method in customizing macros 18:22
Inside of my signature coaching program Macros 101, I teach clients how to provide, or how to apply the scientific method to their macros into the customization of their macros to fit them, their body, their goals, their lifestyle. And so what does that look like? That means, in your fitness journey, in your pregnancy, in whatever journey you're on, we have an outcome that we're trying to create. Right, we always said, you just have to start with the end in mind, we have to figure out what that outcome is. And then in order to drive you towards the outcome, you are going to take the right action. So you're going to take certain action steps. And then once you take the right action, you'll need to be just like a scientist, you'll need to gather the right data. So paying attention to the correct data from there, you as the macro scientist then can make the right analysis of that data, right. So when you're a scientist, a scientist has the raw data. And then from that raw data they make and they do an analysis of the data and make some sort of conclusion like what is the data telling me? What is it trying to communicate to me and then from that, we can make tweaks and adjustments so then we have the right adjustments that are made? So that four-step process is taking the right action, gathering the right data, doing the right analysis, and then making the right adjustments and this is a four-step process that I teach my clients inside of Macros 101 to figure out how to adjust and adapt macros over time to be able to customize it to your body. So what is different when we start talking about pregnancy? Well, none of it is different. It's all exactly the same. The thing that is different during pregnancy is that your goal is typically different. For most women, their goal is to gain weight. So what are we looking for in our data, we're looking for that weight gain. Those's the data points that we're pulling that we're looking for, we want to see weight gain happening at the speed and the rate that our provider has shared with us. That's the goal. And so but the process at which to adjust your macros or tweak your macros is exactly the same whether you're pregnant or whether you're not, the difference is the end goal that you're trying to achieve.
Acknowledging the differences during the trimester phase during pregnancy 20:49
So that's the broad, 10,000-foot view. And I want to go a little bit more narrow, in order to help you because having been pregnant four times myself, having, you know, coach, other women who are pregnant, I don't have to tell you, especially if you've been pregnant before, there is a difference between the trimesters there are big differences between how I felt in trimester one, and how I felt in trimester three. And so I think it's really important as we talk about pregnancy, to start to just acknowledge that what you do in trimester one may be very different than what you do in trimester two might be very different than what you do in trimester three. So this is not about setting your macros once and just going all 40 weeks. And just going on and like just continuing on in the journey with no adjustments and just like just eating like a robot. Because that's not how pregnancy is for most women. And so I want to break it down, we did 1000, you know, 10,000-foot view. And now let's break it down into the individual trimesters and just kind of give you some notes for what that will look like in the individual trimesters.
Trimester 1: Whatever you can do to make your through 22:04
So for trimester one, this is where I really am just like, whatever you can do to make it through trimester one is the absolute right thing for you. I got sick during trimester one, I'm lucky. I'm not somebody who likes to throw up, I know that there are women who, you know, throw up every day, or multiple times a day. That was not me. Thankfully, I wasn't someone who threw up but I did just feel incredibly sick. I just was nauseous most of the day during the first trimester. And that's normal, right? That's normal for that morning sickness to hit. And here's what I'll say about morning sickness. Whatever you can do to get through it, you do that. I mean, we can try to eat nutritious food, we can try to hit protein. But at the end of the day, I am of the opinion that whatever you need to do, whatever you need to eat, in order to make it through the first trimester, do it. That's my opinion. That's where I come from. Now, if you're feeling great in the first trimester, amazing, awesome, we can start talking about macros and hitting protein and things like that. But I would say for a majority of women, this is really a time to practice grace for yourself. It's really a time to do it again, do whatever it takes to get through that first trimester. And recognize that at some point, you hopefully will feel better crossing your fingers that you'll feel better. And we can focus a little bit more on balance when it comes to fueling your body. The first trimester for a lot of women just wants carbs. For a lot of women, protein, protein aversion during that first trimester is a real phenomenon. And so if you're finding yourself having a protein aversion and you're someone who tracked macros before, and you had 135 grams of protein, no problem. And now you're like I got the chicken away from me. There's no way that I can eat it. Yeah, your protein may drop a little bit. And it's okay. Give yourself some grace, whatever you need to do to make it through that first trimester. Do it.
My first-hand experience of first trimester morning sickness with my first baby 24:17
My recollection of first trimester morning sickness is definitely I like to have it imprinted in my brain. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was still in nursing school. So I graduated from nursing school in April of 2007. And I had my first baby in June of 2007. So it was like six weeks after I graduated from nursing school was when I had my first baby. So I was pregnant with my daughter during that last year of nursing school and if you've ever been to nursing school, you know that last year is kind of like trying to prepare you for going to work, right? So you often have some sort of mentorship where you're placed with a nurse, and you get to work alongside him or her. And they kind of treat you like you're the nurse and they're kind of just there to support you. So, you know, I had this mentorship program, and I actually had it at two different places. So I spent part of my time on the L & D floor. So like the labor and delivery floor, I was paired with a nurse there. And then part of my time was paired on a neurosurgical floor where I ended up getting a job and getting hired after nursing school. But that L & D mentorship that I had, was an overnight mentorship. And I lived 45 minutes to an hour away from this hospital. This is a long, complex story and I'm just going to tell you the highlights, but there's a reason for it. And it was that my husband started medical school a year before I finished nursing school. And so that last year of my nursing school, I had to transfer from BYU where I had done most of my nursing degree to another university in Pennsylvania. And so in order to do that, we lived up where my husband was going to medical school. And that was about an hour away from where I did my nursing rotations. So I had this mentorship down 45 to an hour away from where I lived, and it was a night shift. So I would go down there, get there for the night shift starting at 7 pm work all the way until 7 am. And then my classes started at 11 down in the same area. And so I would sleep, you know, from 7:30 to like 10:30. A girl in my class had a barn in her backyard. And I would sleep in the, in the barn, the unheated barn, in a sleeping bag, in the winter in Pennsylvania. It boggles my mind that this is what I did but this is how I got through nursing school. So I would sleep for three hours in this unheated barn in the sleeping bag and then I would go to my classes, like nursing classes, and then I would drive home. I look back and I'm just like, I don't even know how I did that. But that's what I did because at the time, it was like what I had to do in order to finish nursing school. So on those overnight shifts, I was newly pregnant with my daughter, and nobody knew yet because I was like, eight weeks pregnant. And I was so sick, I just remember I would sit at the nurse's station and just be like trying to make it through the night. And one time I had a particularly hard night was really sick. And I actually fell asleep at the nurse's station. And the head nurse found me and woke me up and was not very happy that I was sleeping, essentially sleeping on the job. And so she told my nursing professor, and my nursing Professor called me in and I just remember, she was talking to me and sharing with me the feedback that they had gotten from the head nurse. And I just broke down in tears and was like, I'm pregnant and I'm so sick and I'm so tired. And I just feel like I'm gonna throw up all night long. And I just remember just sobbing and just like being like, I'm pregnant. Like my life is so awful right now I just feel horrible. And my nursing professor was really nice and she was like, Oh, now I understand a little bit more why this happened. But that my friends are like my recollection of how awful that first trimester can feel and how I told you that very long story, to come back to this idea of like whatever you need to do to make it through that first-semester girlfriend, do it. Because there's hopefully a light at the end of the tunnel. And hopefully, when you get to the second trimester, it'll feel better. Okay, that was a really long tangent. But hopefully, that was a fun story to tell or to hear.
Trimester 2: Gauging period 29:15
So, moving into the second trimester. In the second trimester, once you start feeling like a normal individual, or at least a little bit more normal than you feel during that first trimester, this is typically where I'll have clients start to kind of gauge where they're at. How much weight gain do we have during that first trimester? How much weight gain are we looking to have by the end of the pregnancy? Are we, you know, some women lose weight during that first trimester, some women gain weight during that first trimester? So doing just kind of a, Hey, where are we at in terms of the weight gain that we are wanting to have by the end of our pregnancy? And at that point, then we can kind of do this reassessment of like, Okay, I need to gain 20 more pounds, or I need to gain 50 more pounds, or I need to gain 40 more pounds, whatever it is. And based on that, you can there are one of two situations here.
Actual maintenance and estimated maintenance 30:13
One, if you're someone who's you've counted macros in the past, hopefully, you have some idea of where your maintenance is, hopefully, you've done a reverse diet, you've gotten up to your actual maintenance. Actual maintenance is not the same as estimated maintenance that pops out from an equation, those are not the same thing. So hopefully, you found your actual maintenance. And from there, we can decide how much of a surplus that you need to go into in order to create the weight gain that you're looking for. If you're someone who you're like, I've never talked about macros before, this is all new, or I don't know what my maintenance is, then we can start by going off in estimated maintenance. So if you go to bicepsafterbabies.com/setmymacros, you can download my free guide. My free guide will walk you through how to set your macros. And in it, I'll give you an equation that pops out an estimated TDEE, which is your total daily energy expenditure, the amount of calories that you burn per day, an estimated amount. So that is an estimated maintenance amount of calories for you. Again, it's not the same as your actual maintenance, your actual maintenance, and your estimated maintenance may be different. But if we don't have actual maintenance for you, estimated maintenance is a really good starting place. So you can download that guide, you can figure out what your estimated maintenance is, and then go off of there. And, you know, based on how much weight you need to gain during your pregnancy, we can go into, you know, we could start with 100 calorie surplus 200, 300 or 400 calorie surplus. It just depends on how much weight you're looking to gain during your pregnancy.
Four-step process in customizing macros 30:13
And then we go back to that four-step process that I talked about earlier. So we take the action with your macros, we gather the data, we see if you're moving in the right direction. And then we make adjustments to your macros based on if you're trending in the way that we want you to go. Or if you're not trending in the way that you want to go, then we make adjustments to your macros. And we continue to follow that path, that four-step process as you go through your pregnancy, to be able to get you to where you want to go with the amount of weight gain that you want to have by the end of the pregnancy.
Trimester 3: Making adjustments based on how the body is responding 32:37
And then in the third trimester, we're doing more of the same, you know, we're just making adjustments based off on Hey, how's your body responding? Hey, how are you doing in terms of your weight gain? Are we on track? Are we going to overshoot it? Do we need to pull back a little bit, this is not about weight loss. It's about finding how many calorie surplus we need to be in order to create the weight gain that you're really looking for.
Adequate protein intake 33:04
Now, when it comes to setting your macros, looking specifically at the different carbs, you know, your carbs, fat, and your protein. Protein is a very important nutrient or macronutrient during a pregnancy. It is very important most of your life, but it's especially important during pregnancy because you are creating a lot of tissue, you think about it, there's a lot of tissue that needs to be made. And one of the things that protein does is it's one of the building blocks for all the tissue in our body and repair of a lot of the tissue in our body. And so making sure that you have adequate amounts of protein is going to be something that can be very beneficial for you during your pregnancy. Now again, during that first trimester, you may have a protein aversion, if that's the case, I think that there's a lot of wisdom and just listening to our bodies when it comes to pregnancy. Pregnancy is a natural, normal phenomenon that women have been doing for 10s of millions of years. And I definitely believe that there is some inner wisdom with our bodies of like, what we need and what we don't need. And if you're having a protein aversion, the last thing that I would want you to do is to blend up chicken and drink it just because you're like I have to get protein in. So you know, do what you can do in order to eat protein. But it's not the end of the world if, for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, your consumption of protein goes down because of that protein aversion.
Thoughts about taking supplements during pregnancy 34:36
Now one thing that people often ask me questions about and this is kind of tangential to what we're talking about here with macro counting during pregnancy, but it's things like supplements. So people will ask, can I, you know, use protein powder during my pregnancy? Can I use creatine during my pregnancy? Can I use BCAAs during my pregnancy, and I addressed this more deeply in Episode 60 and 61 before I talk about supplements, but I will address it just quickly here. First of all, I'm not a doctor, I'm not your doctor. So I will share what I personally am comfortable doing in pregnancy. And then you can make the same decision not the same as you can make a decision for yourself based on talking to your provider, doing any research that you want to or need to do in order to feel confident with your decision. Supplements are not the same as food, right? So I say, you know, of course, you can macro count while you're pregnant, because you're going to eat food anyway, supplements are the same thing, we can eat protein, and not have it be in the form of a protein powder. And so, you know, supplements are just that they supplement the nutrition that you're getting. And so you'll have to make the decision that feels good for you about what you'll do. I personally would not use BCAAs during my pregnancy. There have been ordering nursing, there have been some small studies that have shown that there may be an increase in fetal growth restriction, which means something small like having your baby be extra small with supplemental BCAAs. It's not been a lot. It hasn't been consistently proven. But to me, it's like if there's any data out there showing that it might be questionable, I'm going to say I'm going to play on the safe side and not do it. The same thing goes for creatine, I personally probably would not take creatine just because again, I tend to be very conservative, pretty conservative when it comes to that kind of stuff. And I'm not a professional athlete. Nine months off of creatine is not going to make or break me. So to me, it's just not it's not worth it, even though I haven't seen any research studies that say that. Just that's personally my decision, I would not supplement with it. And then protein powder. Now I personally probably would supplement with protein powder, I can't say for sure, because I didn't use protein powder when I was pregnant like I just wasn't into lifting in the same way that I am now and I wasn't tracking my protein in the same way I am now. But I personally feel comfortable in utilizing supplemental protein during pregnancy, that may not be the right thing for you. So again, you have to make your own decision on not telling you that you can or should use protein powder during pregnancy, I'm just saying I personally feel comfortable in using protein powder during pregnancy.
Staying active and lifting during pregnancy 37:35
And since we're talking ancillary things, one big push that I would give for if you are pregnant or wanting to be pregnant or think you're going to be pregnant in the future, one of the best things that I did during my pregnancy continued lifting. Now I did not lift as much during my first pregnancy, as I did with my subsequent pregnancies. And I noticed the difference, my recovery was much faster, the more active I was during my pregnancy. So again, the conversation you need to have with your provider. But personally, for me, my provider told me that if I was lifting weights beforehand, that I could continue to lift the weights that I had been lifting pre-pregnancy, but just that I was not to continue to try and have those weights go up, you know, so if I was doing 100 pounds squat, then I continue to a 100 pound squat. But my provider did not want me to continue to like to try and push that higher and higher, higher. So again, that's a conversation that you need to have where your provider is comfortable with you lifting. However, I will say if staying active and lifting during your pregnancy is important to you. And it is not important to your provider, I would find a new provider. That's just me. There's plenty of scientific evidence, lots of research that has shown that women can lift safely during pregnancy, this idea that women are fragile, that they need to be bedridden, or that they should only walk during pregnancy is an outdated thing that gets propagated in the medical industry. And personally, that was something that was important enough to me to have a provider who supported my desire to be active during my pregnancy, that I was willing to ask that question. And if the answer was Oh, no, you just need to walk during your pregnancy to find a new provider. So if that's something that's important to you, I would not just take whatever your provider says and think that that's the way that it is. There's definitely a range of opinions when it comes to exercise and lifting. And I would get a provider who has read some of the latest research in terms of lifting being beneficial and not only safe, but like really, really, really beneficial for women who are pregnant, there's a lot of research that shows that it really helps the baby when you're active, and when you're lifting that there's a lot of benefits to the fetus, as well as to the mother. And I will say, labor and pushing out a baby is some of the hardest exercises you're ever going to do. And it just seems so silly to me to think that we would never show up at a marathon without having trained for weeks to months before. And think that we could just run the marathon and not feel like we wanted to die. And yet, that's what happens a lot of times with women who are inactive during a lot of their pregnancy, and then show up to the marathon delivery day, and haven't trained for it at all.
Staying active and lifting during pregnancy 40:52
Now, of course, I feel like I have to make this really clear. Of course, for some women, you can't do that. For some women, you are bedridden for 20 plus weeks in your pregnancy. Of course, there are people that need to be careful and cannot safely do it because of their history or because of their body or where they're at, or because of their baby. Okay, so there's no judgment, you do whatever you have to do to make it through your pregnancy. Or if you are healthy, nothing's wrong with your pregnancy, you're not at high risk.
Staying active and lifting during pregnancy 41:29
There's a lot of benefits to lifting to training the pelvic floor prior to you going into labor. Some of you guys may have listened to the episode where my husband, Dr. Taylor Brueseke came on the podcast, it's Episode 37. And then he came on for a bonus episode after that, where he talked a lot about the pelvic floor. So my husband is a pelvic floor surgeon. And one of the things that they have found is that one of the best ways to strengthen the pelvic floor is actually doing things like heavy squats, things that where we have to contract a lot of the muscles, including engaging the pelvic floor to create that support during something like a heavy squat can be very beneficial to training the pelvic floor and to be able to have those muscles be worked and strengthened so that when you go to deliver your baby, you have strong muscles. And I found personally that I was able to bounce back from my deliveries much faster when I had trained and worked out and lifted weights. In fact, I lifted weights on pregnancy number four, I was teaching body pump. And no, this was number three, number three or four, I don't know they all blend together. I think it was number four. I taught body pump at like 9 am in the morning. And I was like, I feel like something's happening. So after that body pump class, I got on the treadmill and I walked for the next hour while the next class was going, and I ended up delivering my baby that afternoon/evening. So I actually taught body pump the same day that I ended up delivering my baby. So I lifted all the way up until the very end of my pregnancy. And I really felt for me that was one of the healthiest things that I could do mentally, physically, and for my baby.
Okay, so to wrap up some takeaways from this, first, have a conversation with your provider, always one of the most important things. Second, figure out what your goal is, how much weight gain, are we looking to have. Third, get started around your maintenance, calories or a little bit higher, and then start to get some feedback and data from your body. Are you trending in the right direction? Do you need to add more calories? Do you need to pull back on calories? That's the process that you're going to go through in order to get your macros at a place where you're trending in the right direction with the amount of weight gain that you're wanting to have. And then last just take it trimester by trimester, really day by day. Sometimes pregnancy is really just day by day of taking it a day at a time figuring out what you need to be able to be successful, and just thrive and make it through that day and then on to the next day when it comes to pregnancy. And then, you know, after you have your baby, I really highly recommend going and listening to episode number 21 because that's where I'm going to talk a lot more about the postpartum period, about nursing, and about how we weave that in with macro counting and achieving your goals post-pregnancy.
Be of help through sharing this episode 44:35
I hope that this was really helpful to you. If there's somebody in your life who is pregnant, or is looking to become pregnant and you think that this episode would benefit them. Please, please share it, share it on your Instagram or your Facebook or just text it over to a friend that you think might appreciate this episode. It's a question I get asked all the time so I know that there are people out there craving this information and it means the world to me when you help me get the content out to the people who need it the most. That wraps up this episode of biceps after babies radio. I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
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